China is reported to have sacked its Education Minister last Saturday for slowness to bring about improvement to the education system, as evidenced by corruption involving construction of education facilities, the high unemployment rate among graduates, the dilution of marks, the selling of degrees and rampant plagiarism.
China's rocket scientist, who died on October 31, was said to have complained to the top leadership before his death over his disatisfaction with the education system as it failed to produce students who can think.
This got me into rethinking the problems of the education system in Malaysia.
1. It looks to me that the language has become a major distraction from the real issue - of teaching students who can think, and be creative and innovative.
2. Without this new creative force being generated by the system, Malaysia is likely to be burdened by a body of its citizenry who is unable to get itself out of its quandry - and thus tightening the rope around the neck of the future of the nation.
3. We know the first pre-requisite for creativity and innovation is open-mindedness.
If we fail to keep our minds open, we will together be stuck with our old ideas - which includes preserving as much as we can our old habits and traditions.
Our situation is worse: the vernacular hammered in by the religion imperative.
4. Of course, there is always the fear of losing one's sense of identity. This can be done by improving one's confidence in oneself by raising one's sense of self-worth - without having to resort to outward show and paraphernalia - such as degrees, awards, and titles.
6. We must learn to think for ourselves, and encourgage our children to think for themselves. To think, we must ask questions - even if there are no answers. If an answer is already available, there is no need to think - because there is no problem and no issue.
5. To help us to think, we need accurate information. There is now so much disinformation - opinions masquerading as information, and information masquerading as truth.
6. It is the unwillingness to accept the status quo, and a preparedness to reach out for the impossible and the ideal and give us the passion to live our lives meaningfully. Otherwise, we are only looking for a job before we fear death.
I wish to offer some comments for those who have been short-changed by the education system as per my last post.
i. I understand the anguish and the hurt for not getting what you want for your children. Do not let that episode turn your emotion from the positive to the negative.
ii. Though easier said than those, adversity can be an opportunity as necessity is the mother of invention - or innovation. I find that it is only when we subject to the most severe constraint or handicap that we are the most creative.
iii. Education is free - though one has to pay for a degree or some qualification - which is nothing more than external authentification.
iv. In economics, we consider the role of qualifications as a screening process - for those who want to participate in the mainstream. For those who do not, their real education is in the living.
v. At the end of the day, the ultimate cannot be a house and a car; it must be self-realisation and self-contentment. Don't be distracted by the mirage.
vi. One must learn to keep one's mind expansive, and one's heart true.